2022 Senior College Survey Report

Go to middle-of-nowhere rural New England, and you’ll find a collection of private boarding high schools—ones that have long held the attraction for parents and their children who desire to go to the most selective, reputable colleges. 

At Groton School, the rigorous academics and the work of the college counseling office have proved successful: in the class of 2021, 76% of students were accepted to a college that accepts fewer than 20% of all applicants, and 50% were accepted to a college that accepts fewer than 10%. 

The Circle Voice wanted to find out more about Groton students’ experiences, perspectives, and feelings about the college application process. A survey was sent out to the class of 2022, and 74 out of the 85 students responded (87%). The form presented statements and asked students to what extent they agreed to the statement. Each response was scaled from one (strongly disagree) to seven (strongly agree). In our summaries, responses ranging from 1-3 qualify as disagreement, 5-7 as agreement.

  • 52.7% of respondents agreed that college is always on their minds.
  • While 28.4% of respondents agreed that their extracurriculars and contributions at Groton are for their college applications, 48.7% disagreed, and 17.6% strongly disagreed. 
  • 39.2% of respondents believed that their peers are their competitors in the college admissions process.
  • 66.2% of respondents agreed that they feel pressured from their family and/or the Groton community to attend a prestigious university, with 27% of respondents strongly agreeing.
  • 67.26% of respondents believed that the reputation of the college they get into determines how happy they are with their college admissions process.
  • 60.8% of the respondents believed that the college process has negatively affected their mental health.

In early December, the College Counseling Office conducted a survey separate from the one conducted by The Circle Voice asking students “What aspects of your Sixth Form Fall were the most stressful to you personally, please mark each item (1 being least stressful and 5 being very stressful.) Here are the recorded responses from 75 seniors.

Stressors Average (Scale of 1-5)
Homework Load 3.94
College Essay 3.36
Fear of Not Getting In 3.11
Time Management (Leaving tasks to the last minute) 3.03
Extracurricular time and commitments 2.82

*It is important to differentiate that unlike the survey conducted by The Circle Voice, the College Counseling Office’s survey measured the level of stress rather than if students were stressed or not.



Although 67.5% of respondents disagreed that they felt disadvantaged in the college process because of their gender, at some schools, gender might give applicants a competitive edge. The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center reports that women now comprise nearly 60 percent of enrollment in universities and colleges and men just over 40 percent. Fifty years ago, these proportions were reversed. As schools attempt to balance out the number of men and women on campus, data suggest that it’s generally harder for women to get into private institutions, especially highly selective colleges. According to The Hechinger Report, “men were at least 2 percentage points more likely than women to be accepted in both 2019 and 2020” at Boston, Bowdoin, Swarthmore, Brown, Denison, Pepperdine, Pomona, Vanderbilt and Wesleyan universities. Some schools have even larger disparities such as Vassar (28% for men, 23% for women) and Pitzer (20% for men, 15% for women). However, according to the U.S. Department of Education data, acceptance rates for women were higher than that of men at Caltech (11% for women, 5% for men), MIT (12% for women, 5% for men), and Carnegie Mellon (23% for women, 13% for men)—schools known for acclaimed STEM programs. 


Recruited Athletes

According to the College Counseling Office, 14% of the class of 2022 are recruited athletes. In the class of 2021, 13% of students were recruited athletes. In the class of 2020, 12% of students were recruited athletes.  

Legacy Status

25.7% of respondents reported that they have legacy status to a college that they are applying to. According to the College Counseling Office, 12% of the class of 2021 attended a college that they had legacy status to. In the class of 2020, 12% of students attended a college that they had legacy status to.